Upper Iowa: History in Color

I get it. History can be boring. We all remember the textbooks from school that bored us to death with tepid, uninspired descriptions of events that were anything but lukewarm: wars, uprisings, inventions, assassinations, and more. Unfortunately, many people (adults and students alike) avoid learning about history at all costs because they find it stale. But what happens when you bring history to life? What happens when figures from the past speak to you? The study of history becomes the closest we’ll ever get to time travel.

For many, history speaks clearest through visuals. And when you breathe life into old photos and film, you pull the past closer and understand it better. That’s why colorized footage like the History Channel’s “WWII in HD” is so popular. How much quicker can you connect with people from the past when you realize they faced many of the same tasks we face today: fighting disease and illness, seeking out purpose, serving their community, remembering those who came before them, and grappling with their own mortality. Aside from different fashions and lifestyles, they were a lot like you and me.

To help bring history alive, I colorized some black and white photos from my alma mater, Upper Iowa University. I’d love to say I labored at my computer for hours and hours, carefully coloring every little pixel. But in reality, I found a simple website called ColouriseSG that colorizes a photo for you in under 10 seconds.

I culled these photos from the sources I had at hand, including the 1927, 1929, and 1962 Peacock yearbooks; Upper Iowa University: Doc Dorman’s Peacocks by Fred Breckner; the March 1965 issue of The Palimpsest, dedicated to UIU’s history; and last but not least, the phenomenal Pioneering Spirit: Upper Iowa University – Celebrating 150 Years, 1857-2007 by Stephen D. Regan and Jerome W. Wadian (also known as Professor Wadian, or “the guy who photographed my wedding”). Side note: I have a few extra copies of The Palimpsest if anyone’s interested in one.

It’s my hope that these colorized photos bring Upper Iowa to life and help you find common ground with the students who roamed campus before us. At one point or another, we were all 19-year-old kids, trying to figure out what life was all about (now we’re older and still trying to figure out what life is all about, but that’s a story for another day). Hope you enjoy this colorful journey through the university’s past.

1881 senior class - prez cp colegrove center row left
The 1881 senior class. Future UIU president Chauncey P. Colgrove is pictured in the center row on the left.
1890 soph class on steps of old chapel bldg
The 1890 sophomore class, pictured on the steps of the old chapel building.
1892 circa - women's quartette
A women’s quartette, circa 1892.
1899-1902 prez guy potter benton
Guy Potter Benton, who served as Upper Iowa’s president from 1899 to 1902. He later served as president at three other universities and also was educational director of the Third Army that occupied Germany after World War I.
1900 circa - 4th of july celebration - looking north on main from intersection with state st
A view of a Fourth of July celebration in Fayette around 1900. This is looking north on Main Street from the State Street intersection.
1900 track team
1900 track team. The dude in white appears to be pretty accomplished, judging by the medals on his chest.
1901 bb team - dorman lower right
1901 basketball team. John “Doc” Dorman and his unique hair are pictured lower right.
1910 class of
The class of 1910.
1910 senior class play - the college widow
The cast of the 1910 senior class play, “The College Widow.” The hats alone make this a head-turner… and then you notice the gravity-defying beard in the back row.
1911 student reception at uiu b.u.s.t.
1911 student reception at UIU B.U.S.T.
1913 university orchestra
The 1913 university orchestra… classy.
1915 play close to home - zeta alpha & zethegathean literary societies
The cast of the 1915 play “Close to Nature,” put on by the Zeta Alpha and Zethegathean literary societies and their canine pal.
1916 class of
The class of 1916. I’ve never heard any stories about Alexander Dickman’s door ever being red, but that’s how it came out in this photo.
1925 dorman after team tied for conf champ
Legendary coach Doc Dorman in 1925 after his team tied for the conference football championship. According to Buck Turnbull’s The Iowa Conference Story, the 1925 Peacocks “awarded only 11 letters because no reserve saw the necessary half of action.”
1926 baseball team
The 1926 baseball team in front of the old gymnasium, which is now the Edgar Fine Arts building. Coach Doc Dorman is in the back row. He’s flanked on the left by catcher Charles Sullivan and to the right by pitcher Fred “Zebe” Larson. The duo, both future UIU Hall of Famers from Clermont, led the team to some impressive victories that season. Larson had game-by-game strikeout tallies of 13, 14, 15, 13, and 16. He also ran up a streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.
1926 class homecoming skit - jr
The 1926 junior class homecoming stunt. Stunts were skit competitions between classes, intended to build bonds and create class spirit.
1926 class homecoming stunt - soph
The 1926 sophomore class homecoming stunt. That mask in the back row is juuuuuuuuuuust a little creepy.
1926 class homecoming stunt - sr
The 1926 senior class homecoming stunt.
1926 fb action
The 1926 football team in action. Football games were played on what is now the oval lawn. You can see the old gymnasium (now Edgar Fine Arts) in the background.
1928 fb team
The 1928 football team. Coach Doc Dorman is in the second row. For reasons unknown to me, he had a tendency to pose in profile for several of the team photos.
1928 waa sports - hockey
The 1928 WAA (Women’s Athletic Association) hockey team. Yes, believe it or not, UIU had a women’s hockey team.
1928 waa state convention
The 1928 WAA (Women’s Athletic Association) state convention at Cornell College. UIU and 10 other schools attended the convention, which gave attendees ideas to take back to their campuses. One of the more interesting talks given at the event was titled “Archery and Horseback Riding,” but I don’t think UIU ever adopted that combo for Peacock women.
1928-29 freshmen homecoming stunt
The 1928 freshman class homecoming stunt.
1929 baseball team
The 1929 baseball squad.
1929 waa womens athletic assoc board
The 1929 WAA (Women’s Athletic Association) board. The colorization doesn’t do this photo justice, but can you imagine how stunning those sweaters looked back in the day?
1940s late - dorman & team ring bell in A-D, bell on campus almost 100 yrs at time
A scene from the late 1940s showing Doc Dorman and his team ringing the bell in Alexander Dickman.
1941 iiac champ baseball team
The 1941 Iowa Conference baseball champs. The squad included Dale Alderson, who went on to pitch in 16 games for the Chicago Cubs.
1950 last known pic of graf with mother nora, annual trip to hollywood
The last known photo of famous UIU alumna and actress Zinita B. Graf. She’s pictured here in 1950 with her mother Nora before they took off on their return trip from Fayette to Hollywood. She died on November 25 of that year, but her spirit continues to be a presence on campus almost 70 years later. It’s practically a rite of passage to experience Zinita’s presence during your time in Fayette.
1956 iiac baseball champs
The 1956 Iowa Conference baseball champs. Although Doc Dorman is mostly known for his football coaching, he was also closely associated with baseball. After graduating from UIU, he continued to play baseball for Georgetown while earning his DDS and received interest from multiple leagues. Thankfully for Upper Iowa, he returned to Fayette to join his father’s dental office and the rest is history.
1961 cheerleaders
1961 football cheerleaders: Kathy Scheaffer, Pam Whitmore, Peg Eischeid, Clare Baker, Peg Schmidt, and JoAnn (Lyles) Hill. Again, this is another photo where the colorization does not do justice to some phenomenal sweaters.
1961 fb art kossack
Art Kossack, a member of the 1961 football team. A 1963 Collegian profile listed Kossack as a defensive end from Chicago who majored in business and history.
1961 fb what's the great play
Eb Eischeid and Doc Dorman are flanked by two unidentified guys during a 1961 football practice.
1961 gene klinge
Gene Klinge of the 1961 football team. Klinge went on to win 1009 games as girls basketball coach at West Central and Waukon, making him the state’s career leader and 10th overall nationally.
1961 their day will come
This photo from the 1962 yearbook was simply captioned “Their day will come.”
1961-62 bb good shot
An action shot from the 1961-62 basketball season.
1961-62 don dutton
Don Dutton goes in for a layup during the 1961-62 season. Dutton is a member of UIU’s Hall of Fame and 1,000 point club, and went on to become a coach, teacher, and principal, including a stop at Clarence High School, which is near my old stomping grounds.
1961-62 larry albers
Larry Albers went airborne over an opponent in a game from 1961-62. Albers was named all-conference three years and is also a member of UIU’s Hall of Fame and 1,000 point club.
1962 bowling strike
Bowling and smoking, 1962.
1962 dr naylor & science club students looking for plants
Dr. Ernst Naylor and his Science Club students search for plants in 1962. Naylor earned the nickname “Tex” from UIU President Eugene Garbee, who originally thought Naylor was from Texas (he was actually from Missouri).
1962 eb eischeid ad and fb coach
UIU athletic director and football coach Everett “Eb” Eischeid in 1962. A native of nearby Oelwein, Eischeid graduated from UIU in 1938, coached in the high school ranks, then returned to the university in 1955, initially as Doc Dorman’s assistant football coach. His son, Mike, also starred for UIU and punted for nine years in the NFL with the Raiders and Vikings.
1962 mar 6 - tina minard & vic solomn k&q newman club mardi gras
Tina Minard and Vic Solomon were named king and queen at the 1962 Newman Club Mardi Gras.
1962 may 5 APO ugly man contest - i'll hit this one
In this photo from the 1962 yearbook, an unidentified student takes a whack at a car covered in professors’ names during the APO Ugly Man Contest.
1962 passing from sr prez to jr prez
A tradition still recognizable to this day: in 1962, the senior class president handed off the graduation gown to the junior class president.
1962 prez eugene garbee
President Eugene Garbee pictured at his desk in 1962. Along with weaving his own suits, Garbee was known for his wild game dinners, which included such delicacies as English Sparrow pot pie, Iowa jugged muskrat, and baked Fayette County corn-fed coon. You can find his cookbook on Amazon (including a few copies that are signed).
ball pushing
A giant ball-pushing contest between classes (unknown year).
first pitching machine - stan jack, al seabrooke, eb eischeid, doc dorman (1024x696)
Stan Jack, Al Seabrooke, Eb Eischeid, and Doc Dorman check out Upper Iowa’s first pitching machine in the mid-1950s. Jack and Seabrooke excelled in baseball and basketball at UIU, then both went on to successful coaching careers and placement in UIU’s Hall of Fame. Jack returned to Upper Iowa to lead the Peacocks to a conference title in baseball and four straight conference championships in basketball.
dorman examines teeth of former qb cal harms, kept dental practice through career
Doc Dorman examines the teeth of former UIU QB Cal Harms in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Despite a successful coaching tenure that spanned over five decades, Dorman still kept his dental practice going throughout his coaching career. Harms’s impressive list of accomplishments included 32 years as a basketball official and membership in several halls of fame.
dorman facing left
One of the most iconic photos of Doc Dorman.
dorman and eb eischeid, who succeeded him as fb coach and ad
Coach and player: an early photo of Eb Eischeid with Doc Dorman. Eischeid went on to succeed Dorman as athletic director and football coach.
dorman and eb eischeid
A later photo of Dorman and Eischeid with the old gymnasium in the background. Just as Dorman handed off coaching duties to Eischeid, we hand off our UIU traditions to new generations of Peacocks who flock to campus. They’re in good hands.

8 comments

    • You’re welcome, Scott – glad you enjoy the colorized versions. I happened to have a 1962 yearbook that I bought somewhere for $5. I thoroughly enjoyed picking out some great photos for this blog, so thank you for taking them in the first place!

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